Here’s what we achieved in 2014…
·Women started earning sustainable incomes: 98% of the women said their income had increased since they joined Aspire and only 9% of the women identified themselves as unemployed at the end of the year, down from 58% at the start of the project. The Aspire graduate cooperative sold mandazi (a popular East African snack) and made a profit of 487,800 RWF (about £460/$576).
·Children at Aspire’s childcare centre had a head start with their education: 120 children attended the childcare centre each week and 98% of their mothers said their children were better at learning by the end of the year.
·Women made friends and felt less isolated: Only 4% of the women in the 2014 cohort felt that they had no one to talk to, down from 48% at the beginning of the year.
·Women started saving money: 62% of the women were saving in Aspire savings cycle groups by the end of 2014, up from 20% at the beginning of the year.
·Women in rural Rwanda received training in agriculture: Our three-year project in rural Rwanda welcomed a second cohort of 150 women in January. The women learned commercial agriculture techniques and learned about women’s and children’s rights, health and hygiene, family planning and basic numeracy and literacy.
·People in northern Uganda suffering from trauma, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses received counselling: PCCO’s community counsellors provided counselling to 766 individuals this year.
·People living with HIV/AIDS received counselling: PCCO’s counsellors provided counselling to 1,790 individuals living with HIV/AIDS. This included 145 HIV+ people who had previously defaulted on their ARVs who, following counselling by PCCO’s counsellors, started taking their medication again.
·People living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk of contracting the disease received important health information: PCCO’s counsellors reached 4,500 people through talks at the Health Centre to raise awareness about the transmission, mitigation and protection from HIV/AIDS, the importance of taking ARVs, stigma attached to HIV, and living positively.
·People recovering from mental illnesses started earning money through agricultural income generating projects: 120 people formed four groups and set up agricultural projects, including crop farming, beekeeping, poultry rearing and a piggery.